News: The Future Of Media Is Influencers- Detavio Samuels
Detavio Samuels understands a thing or two about digital media. He is president of iOne Digital and One Solution, and the company’s digital media division operates sites like CassiusLife, GlobalGrind,HelloBeautiful, NewsOne, MadameNoire and HipHopWired. The parent company, UrbanOne, is the largest distributor of urban content in the country.
Samuels recently told Media Village his vision for the company. “Culture is at the root of the vision. The space we are trying to own and be the primary source of is for those who are urban enthusiasts in the digital space. So, if you’re a brand that wants to reach an audience that is connected to black culture and wants to consume that in the digital world, we have a very clear perspective on how we want to tell these stories. There is an African proverb: ‘Until the story is told by the lion, the hunter will always be the hero.’
We want to make sure that culture is at the center of our story. The dominant voice controls the narrative and we want to be that dominant voice culturally,” he said.
According to Samuels, he thinks digital media has offered a voice to those who once had no platform. “I think digital has leveled the playing field in one way and complicated it in another.
The leveling has helped eliminate middlemen, which is important especially when most of those middlemen primarily had the same perspective and the same gaze. As a result, many voices that did not fit that cultural perspective were left. Now everyone has the capability to create content and get it out into the world. The complication is the current content explosion makes it hard to discover those new voices. For us, that is an opportunity because, as a trusted source for both audiences and brands, we are part of that discovery phase. We work directly with content creators and have positioned ourselves as meaningful players in that field,” he explained.
As far of the future of media, Samuels says he feels it will be influencers who will drive the industry. “I couldn’t be more bullish. Culture has always been what moves us; the smartest brands and the best advertisers have always made a big bet on culture as a way forward,” he said.”Influence is only growing as a part of the equation. It is the brands that aren’t leveraging culture that are significantly reducing their potential impact. The future of media is influencers.
The affinity we used to have for networks — ABC, NBC, etc. — has been replaced with a love of brands and, in some cases, influencers. Someone like Will Smith or Cardi B. can reach millions of people in a moment, with exactly the content they want to consume. When a single video of Will Smith can do double or triple the views of some networks during primetime you know you have a powerful tool that is intrinsic to the future. That is the new model that is going to be dominating media going forward. Influencers are essential to that future.”
Written by Ann Brown